What makes for a successful husband and wife business team?

Business Leader Post, July 3, 2012

Thomas D. Davidow, Ed.D.

In addition to the complexity inherent in any relationship, a number of variables, many having to do with a husband’s and wife’s individual history and culture, determine whether a couple will succeed in their marriage as well as in a business partnership. A mix of variables and personality traits that make for a terrific marriage may not add up to a successful business relationship. Conversely, I have witnessed a successful husband and wife business team divorce and still keep their business.

Certain characteristics make for a successful husband and wife team. Each partner must have a deep respect for the value that his or her spouse brings to the table. That value, which may come in a variety of forms, may have nothing to do with time spent and everything to do with how much the husband and wife appreciate and respect each other’s contributions. When both spouses deliver and accept each other’s contributions in a supportive manner, they create a solid framework within which their respective business knowledge and skills allow for good business decisions and, in turn, for a successful business.

As with a successful marriage, the goal of the husband and wife business team will change from having a successful business to having a successful family. The most important criterion for that success is the spouses’ capacity and willingness to communicate with one another even as external events challenge them and test their resolve. If their communication skills are not satisfactory, they must improve them. Otherwise, they are putting their business and their family at risk.